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We were very proud when we achieved Certified B Corp status in July 2022, making us part of a global community of over 6,000 businesses, all working to transform the economy for the benefit of people, communities and the planet.  Manchester, where we have our headquarters, is a UK hotspot for B Corp certification so we are delighted to be part of a thriving local network too.

But it has taken a lot of work to get here.  Our B Corp journey started in October 2019 and demanded we undertake a detailed review of every part of our business.  It included our legal articles of incorporation, how we work with suppliers, colleagues, communities and how we track our energy usage.

Whole team effort

While the impetus for B Corp certification came from our leadership team, implementation would have been impossible without the commitment of our whole business.  The old proverb says “It takes a village to raise a child” – and in my opinion, it takes a group of colleagues full of heart to achieve B Corp certification.

We introduced new systems and policies as well as consolidating and improving old ones.   Colleagues have played a key role every step of the way and they’re still at the forefront of making sure we do business the right way by considering the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

We established a Staff Engagement Group on our way to B Corp, who provide input prior to any operational or policy changes.  We have worked with them to deliver a number of initiatives including a volunteering policy, allowing all staff to take up to five working days per calendar year as paid time off to volunteer at a charity, community group or other not-for-profit of their choice; and a super flexible working policy giving colleagues the opportunity to choose where and when they work.

Our team spend time helping Social improve and we have volunteers within the business working to strengthen our equality, diversity and inclusion; team bonding; environmental impact and health and wellbeing.

A structured approach

Following the B Corp certification process gave us a how-to guide in transforming good intentions to systematically doing business the right way. It challenged us to look for other ways where we could go above and beyond ‘business as usual’. For example, B Corp asked if we had a policy to support breastfeeding mothers. We didn’t at the time so we introduced one. That inspired us to look at additional policies to support our colleagues, such as a menopause policy and additional increases to our enhanced parental leave. We’re currently looking to introduce policies on IVF, gender transition and pet bereavement.

Making a difference

The changes we made for B Corp have helped us secure other certifications.  We became Great Place to Work certified in November 2021, coming 16th in their small business category for UK Best Places to Work and 20th in UK Best Places to Work for Women (small business category).  We upgraded from being a ‘supporter’ to a ‘member’ of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter.

Our next target is to improve our B Corp score in every area: Governance, Workers, Environment, Community and Customer.  There is still plenty of room for improvement, but Social is only as good as the colleagues we have in the business and without their desire to do what’s right we wouldn’t be where we are today – and we couldn’t move forward.

You can see our current scores, and our targets for the years ahead in our Social Impact Report.